When I was growing up, long an only child, before computers and electronic games, in a remote part of the world lacking in endless television programming, time seemed to stretch, and the days lingered and were filled with hidden wonder and meaning.

What magic lay beyond the enchantment of the garden, the buzzing of the bees, the wind in the trees; the rustling it produced? What hidden movement powered the storms, the endless sky, the dark cypress trees, the blue green depths of the Adriatic sea? What magic in the morning mist, the quiet communion of horses, the night sky awash with brilliant stars, distant and cold!

I was alone, free to think and wander and delight in each flower and blade of grass; the plums in the orchard, the grapes on the vine, the berries on the mountain. The sheep grazed on the hills, the cows in the meadows; and everything was whole and infused with significance.

Much later when that world was shattered, and I came to a cold and gray city; a stranger, lonely and odd, books filled my world and stories became more real than any dismal and bleak reality. What knowledge could be found within those mysterious covers; in that new language, the language of Shakespeare and King James, rich and varied; powerful and austere!

The will to know all things drove me; all the things that man knew and sought to know. And in that profound human silence, the voices of the books, so terribly alive, willed me to understand that I was not alone, that there were many others with stories to tell of all the horror and beauty in the world and the wretchedness and glory of man.

These are my stories and, within them, the streams of those which have come before mine. I try to make them worthy and tell them truly.